1 P.M. VS. SAN JOSE • FSN, 100.3-FM
Preview: The Wild, fresh off a 3-0 road trip, has won four in a row and seven of 10. The Sharks have had two days off since breaking a two-game losing streak with a 4-3 shootout victory in Edmonton on Wednesday. Still, entering Friday's NHL games, the Sharks had gone 4-4-2 in their past 10 games and were clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Players to watch: Wild C Matt Cullen had two goals vs. San Jose last season and has 19 points in 41 games vs. the Sharks. G Niklas Backstrom is 5-10-13 all-time vs. San Jose. Sharks C Joe Thornton has five goals and 28 points in 29 games. Thornton skates with wings Patrick Marleau (23 points) and Brent Burns, who has been moved to forward and has two goals and six points in his past five games.
Numbers: The Wild is 10-3-1 at home this season. San Jose is 5-9-2 on the road. After a 7-0-0 start to the season, the Sharks have gone 6-10-6 since.
Injuries: Wild G Josh Harding, who has not played since Feb. 7 while trying to get a handle on treatment for multiple sclerosis, was at Xcel Energy Center Friday. "I had a brief conversation with him," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "And he was feeling very good. His word, actually, was great. And even just looking at him, I think he looks great. So we'll talk some more about what the plan is going forward." D Tom Gilbert (lower body) has missed two games but is ready to return. F Mike Rupp (lower body) is out. Sharks G Thomas Greiss (neck) and C/W Tim Kennedy (undisclosed) are on injured reserve. LW/RW Ryane Clowe (shoulder) is out.